Skip to main content

In Bujumbura, a City in the Valley

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus speaks of believers being like a city on a Hill. He says, "A city set on a hill cannot be hidden." Such a city is visible from a far.
That is what we are. In following Him we become contagious, combustible, dynamic, visible, and engaging to the world.

Well, it is two days now since we arrived in Africa. Yesterday was quite an awesome Sunday. We joined worshippers at Christ is the Answer Ministries (CITAM), Nairobi, Kenya for the worship service. The Bishop of CITAM, Boniface Adoyo and his wife Addah and many of his pastors are wonderful friends of ours. Senior Pastor of Nairobi Pentecostal Church, Valley Road, the largest of the congregations under CITAM Kennedy Kimiywe had invited us to join them for the service. They are celebrating 50 years of ministry in the city of Nairobi. Kennedy is also accompanying us to Bujumbura as part of our speakers panel.

They held one grand service at the Nyayo soccer Stadium attended by most of their 60,000 members. Aong the guests for the occasion was Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki and several of his cabinet ministers, members of parliament, civil servants and the Nairobi Business community. Looking at the audience as quite a sight to behold. CITAM are definitely shinning the light of Jesus Christ all around the country of Kenya. SWIM is honored to be a partnering ministry with CITAM in Africa.

In the meantime we are here in Bujumbura. The weather is hot and humid. Significantly uncomfortable. Thank God we have air conditioning in our hotel rooms. The city is set in a valley. Several hills overlook it. The city itself overlooks Lake Tanganyika. It speaks of great potential that remains largely untapped. The people are kind and polite. But they need to shed off the valley mentality and build their lives on a hill.

Tomorrow morning we kick off the Leadership and Governance conference. There is great energy and passion from the local Christian leadership, coming in large numbers. We will have more than 200 pastors, business and community leaders in attendance. I am told there have been as many as 400 requests from many pastors from neighboring Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo to come. But we did not make room for that many on our budget. So we are sticking with the plan as much as possible.

Initially Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza was scheduled to open the conference. However, due to pressing political responsibilities he is sending his minister for Good Governance and Local administration Martin Nivyabandi to open the conference. We will visit with the President a little later in the week. They are requesting for prayer as they have had some wrangling between political parties. That is why the President is not available tomorrow. Pray for us and come back to tomorrow to know how it went.

I promised you the other day to tell you what God did. Two months ago I applied for my Green Card with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The minimum it takes is at least three months to process. So obviously I was late if I wanted to receive it ahead of our travel to Bujumbura. We, however, did not have the needed funds to apply for it earlier. My wife and I had agreed that we were not to use our credit cards but rather wait on the Lord to provide first.

When we applied, we requested for an expedited release of a travel document that would allow me to leave and re-enter the U.S. without having to forfeit my application. For the two months it wasn't forthcoming.

By Thursday last week, with one day left to go, I still did not have it. So my wife and I did some research and found out that there is a local USCIS office in Bloomington by the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. We went in and requested if they could process one for us. The officer we talked to denied us. For a moment we didn't know what to do. I could not get back into the U.S. without that document.

Then the Holy Spirit reminded us that God has already made a way for us and his favor rests on our lives. It was already obvious through the provisions we have experienced. He whispered to me to call Steve Wareham, the MSP Airport Director and explain to him the situation. We did.

Steve then called the Director of Homeland Security at the MSP airport, who then called the Minnesota State Director of Homeland Security and requested them to issue me with the travel document. The lady director complied. I was given her direct number and called her. She was very apologetic for what I had undergone, being denied the document. She personally came to receive my wife and I when we went back. The officer who had denied us was called back from his lunch break to process it immediately. Within 20 mins, we had the document and were ready to go.

So, I am coming back to Minnesota. Guess who is most delighted…My wife (and baby) of course! YEY! Thanks be to the Lord our God who goes before His own children to part the Red Sea. Uftah!!


Popular posts from this blog

OPEN FOR SPIRITUAL BUSINESS- Could COVID-19 open a window for Spiritual Awakening?

None of us wished for it. But COVID-19 delivers to our doorstep what is, perhaps, the greatest evangelistic opportunity of our lifetime. It is an unusual opportunity in the Twin Cities, North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and around the world. A scared world is open for spiritual business. The masks are off. People are open to hear that there is hope through Jesus Christ. For the church, the times we are in may have changed, due to COVID-19. But the mission we are on has not changed . The need to share the hope Jesus provides is now more urgent than ever.  Our nation is now the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Severe cases and deaths are mounting from coast to coast. Doctors, general medical workers and other essential service providers continue to do all they can to stave off the pandemic. 3 million Americans have lost their jobs. Children across the nation and worldwide are out of schools. Our economy and other global economies remain on shaky ground. All professional s

A Medical Doctor With a Passion for God, a Love for People, and an Enduring Faith

Our Mission in Kenya Continued well. He is humble, he is joyful, and he works hard to make a difference among a Kenyan rural town's community.  That is Dr. Nathan Matasi, a gynecologist serving in Kitale town, Western Kenya.  There are hardly any hospitals in this part of the world.  The one government operated hospital in Kitale town serves a population of over one million people from the town and the surrounding rural farm communities.  Sammy and Gary share a moment with Dr. Matasi next to a corn field in Kitale on Tuesday morning before heading out for the prayer service in Nairobi, some 400 miles away.  Here you will find patients sleeping on the floor in overcrowded hallways, pregnant mothers sharing beds, and daily lines forming at the out-patient unit.  There are hardly modern equipment available for the few qualified doctors and nurses to use for diagnostics or treatment.  Majority of the patients can hardly afford to pay for quality medical attention. Yet it is

No Room in the Inn...21st Century Version

It is the Christmas season 2009.  Like Joseph and Mary 2000 years ago, a young couple are on the virge of the birth of their first baby boy.  Although they are doing everything to prepare for the big day, it still catches them by surprise.  Instead of the regular 40 weeks, the baby is arriving six weeks early. Because they are not expecting it this early, their bags are not packed nor is the nursery fully furnished.  Safe for an early morning warning in a dream to the father to prepare to be in a delivery room and with assurance (from the Lord) that it would be o.k, the day started off as any other day. At 6:00 AM, the couple prays together for about 40 minutes in their home in Victoria.  They take showers.  At about 7:30 AM, the husband goes to work briefly from his home office while the wife prepares something for their breakfast together. Within a couple hours they will have a routine prenatal doctor's appointment.  Later in the evening the wife's sister and her two beau